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Social Education January/February 2018

Editor’s Notebook

Editor’s Notebook


NCSS Notebook

We Make Students Engaged Citizens
Terry Cherry

Social studies is alive in the classroom where you teach, in your community, in the state where you work, and across the globe.    

Lessons on the Law

Protests, Free Expression, and College Campuses
Evan Gerstmann

A close look at the controversies surrounding recent student protests against campus speakers can launch an interesting classroom discussion on free speech. Secondary/High School     Law-Related


Tracking Congress: Issues, Interests, and Democracy in Action
Ralph Nader

Teaching young people to track congressional representatives and public issues through Congress can engage students with their government and advance their civic participation. Secondary/High School     Civics/Government

Teaching the C3 Framework

Making Inquiry Critical: Examining Power and Inequity in the Classroom
Ryan M. Crowley, LaGarrett J. King

A truly critical inquiry should identify unequal power relationships in society and offer students counter-narratives to transform unjust social relations. Secondary/High School     Civics/Government

Sources and Strategies

Guiding Student Investigation of a Miniature Flask for Insight into Mayan Civilization
Matthew C. Poth

An in-depth examination of a clay flask discovered in the Guatemalan lowlands provides an excellent springboard into a lesson on Mesoamerican civilizations and the impact of European arrival. Secondary/High School     World History


Drones, Balance of Power, and “Just War”: Assassination and Warfare in a New Century
Mark Pearcy

Grappling with complex issues in the classroom, such as the use of weaponized drones, is vital for students in an era where technology is racing ahead of moral scrutiny. Secondary/High School     World History, US History

Project-Based Learning


PBL in Social Studies Classrooms: Teaching High Quality and Engaging Projects
Jane C. Lo

This special section provides teachers with excellent examples of rigorous project-based learning.    


Project-Based Learning in Social Studies
John Larmer

Teaching through projects can connect students and schools with their communities, make history relevant, and foster democratic citizenship.     US History


Engaging the Community with a Project-Based Approach
Anne-Lise Halvorsen, Nell K. Duke, Stephanie L. Strachan,, Cathy M. Johnson

Young learners and students of all ages feel more connected to their learning when they participate in community-related projects. PreK-Elementary     Civics/Government


Knowledge in Action: Social Studies Simulations as Project-Based Learning
Katie Piper, Jerry Neufeld-Kaiser

Political simulations in an AP class helped students learn content and skills while they also engaged with the structures and functions of government. Secondary/High School     Civics/Government, US History


Learning through Doing: A Project-Based Learning Approach to the History of the U.S. CivilRights Movement
Diana B. Turk, Stacie Brensilver Berman

A project-based approach to studying the civil rights movement can stimulate student engagement and their sense of connection to this historic period. Secondary/High School     US History


The Secret Ingredients of Problem-Based Learning: A World History Perspective
Robert Hallock, Kathryn Smoot

Three key strategies can help teachers implement successful projects in world history. Secondary/High School     World History

Research and Practice

Projects as the Spine of the Course: Design for Deeper Learning
Walter C. Parker

When a course is centered on a series of projects, the projects accomplish the main intellectual work, and student learning is deep and complex. Secondary/High School